Jump to content

About area transitions aka "zoning"


Recommended Posts

It was in 2001, when Gothic 1 was released. It had an open world and almost no so called zoning.

This was amazing at that time, when e.g. the devs of Baldurs Gate defended the zoning with arguments like

"gaming would only happen on high end PCs, if we had the entire (game-)world in 'one piece'."

Perhaps that was correct. My PC had 256 MB RAM at that time.

 

Indeed, for Gothic 1 I had to spend about 100 DM (~ 50 US$) to upgrade my RAM to 512 MB. But then it ran flawlessly AND without useless time consuming because of countless zonings.

 

If someone would ask me, if there is something I dislike about PoE, then there is just that sole exception:

Ways too much zonings.

 

Example (mild spoiler):

When we decide to go for the peaceful ending in the lighthouse quest, we have to zone from Lillith one level down, another level down, out to Ondra's Gift, then to Brackenbury, into the Charred Barrel, up one level.

 

That's six zonings for one way and then three for the way back to the questgiver. Altogether nine zonings.

 

On my current PC one transition takes about 20-30 seconds. You can imagine, how much time we stare at the "zoning screen" throughout the entire game.

 

My question:

 

Gothic 1 was just one game which showed (14 years ago!) that it is possible to make games in "one piece".

There were several in the meantime.

 

Nevertheless, even top developers like Obsidian, BioWare etc. resort to this - in my eyes - ancient technique of cutting the game world in pieces and let the player stare at their loading screens.

 

Must that really be? Are there still arguments like in the 90s ("... runs only on high end....")?

Edited by AnjyBelle
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are you running the game from a regular hard disk or from ssd? I feel your frustation 20-30s per loading zone seems too much. If I recall correctly loading was quite snappy on my SSD (maybe around 5-10s).

On a HD.

 

Ok, not all loadings are that long. I tried to estimate the average time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not of particular help to PoE but they said in one of the recent panels that they'd like to develop a system for PoE2 where all interiors within a particular exterior (say Copperlane district) wouldn't need a loading screen.

That would've helped immensely in this game even if it wouldn't be a "seamless" world so to speak.

  • Like 1

Listen to my home-made recordings (some original songs, some not): http://www.youtube.c...low=grid&view=0

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On the one hand: places like the lighthouse could definitely benefit from not having to go through loading screens just to go up a floor.

On the other hand: for open-world areas, like Black Meadow and Magran's Fork, you're suddenly looking at A LOT MORE WORK defining all those square miles of terrain. If done well, you're going to get a bit of an Elder Scrolls vibe, marching through a wide open world as you see fit. If done poorly, it'll just serve to make the world empty.

 

So, I think the system Starwars up there is talking about is a good compromise.

qKz5nVP.png

tumblr_ntb1sfqeVI1rxxgfbo3_400.png                                                         

I stream every Friday at 9pm EST: http://www.twitch.tv/ladaarehn  Currently streaming: KOTOR 2.

 

Pillars of Eternity homebrew tabletop thread: https://forums.obsidian.net/topic/84662-pillars-of-eternity-homebrew-wip/

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know if this is my imagination or not but I'll sometimes go through my old saves and delete the ones I don't really need or want and my loading times aren't too bad on my standard hd. The only reason why I feel the loading times are somewhat excusable is because the game is just too damn good and the artwork is great.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not of particular help to PoE but they said in one of the recent panels that they'd like to develop a system for PoE2 where all interiors within a particular exterior (say Copperlane district) wouldn't need a loading screen.

That would've helped immensely in this game even if it wouldn't be a "seamless" world so to speak.

For me that would be more than enough, because especially in towns you run from one zone into the next.

 

I wouldn't mind a loading screen if I go from my fortress to another area, e.g. Magram's Fork.

When I explore such an area for the first time, I won't see the next loading screen soon.

 

So, "open towns" would be a good compromise.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gothic 1 was just one game which showed (14 years ago!) that it is possible to make games in "one piece".

There were several in the meantime.

 

Nevertheless, even top developers like Obsidian, BioWare etc. resort to this - in my eyes - ancient technique of cutting the game world in pieces and let the player stare at their loading screens.

 

Must that really be? Are there still arguments like in the 90s ("... runs only on high end....")?

 

You say all of this as if open world gameplay is objectively superior; something ubiquitouslty desireable, the absence of which needs to be excused. This is untrue. Open world gameplay demands a particular style and makeup, and that's not suitable for every game. Putting aside whatever Bioware's devs said at the time, if BG1 had been an open world game, it would have been a fundamentally different beast.

 

Rather than challenging PoE to explain why it's not an open world game, I challenge you to explain why it should be. Obnoxious load times are not a viable explanation - that just means the engine needs to be optimized. How would my adventures in the Dyrwood be improved with the addition of an open world?

 

Not of particular help to PoE but they said in one of the recent panels that they'd like to develop a system for PoE2 where all interiors within a particular exterior (say Copperlane district) wouldn't need a loading screen.

That would've helped immensely in this game even if it wouldn't be a "seamless" world so to speak.

 

It's a proven concept. Shadowrun Returns already does it (stylishly, I might add), and it was a pretty ubiquitous trick in NWN modding. They should definitely do it.

If I'm typing in red, it means I'm being sarcastic. But not this time.

Dark green, on the other hand, is for jokes and irony in general.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...